Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is today very much open for business. The transitioning economies of Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania in particular have attractive long-term growth prospects which make this region an ideal international base.
Covid-19 latest information
This guide is an accurate reflection of the pre-Covid-19 business environment in Central and Eastern Europe. Please note that due to the current situation, some circumstances may have changed in this country. Figures and data in the guide were last updated in August 2020.
CEE can also count on political stability, improving infrastructure and a highly-skilled workforce. Combined with its freemarket economic principles, and wide geographical spread, this is a prime location for international investment.
HSBC has a distinct presence in Europe, reaching 34 markets and physically operating within 19. Our network covers 99% of European payment flows and 90% of global trade flows.
Bilateral trade is key for HSBC, particularly between Central and Eastern Europe and China. With a long-established commitment to projects such as the Belt & Road Initiative, of which these five CEE countries are part, HSBC is well placed to help businesses navigate this market.
Get in touch to find out how HSBC can help you thrive in Central and Eastern Europe.
We look forward to welcoming you!
HSBC Continental Europe, Czech Republic, Na Florenci 2116/15, 110 00, Prague 1, Czech Republic
HSBC Continental Europe (Spółka Akcyjna) Oddział w Polsce, Rondo ONZ 1, 00-124 Warsaw, Poland
1 World Bank Group, 2018
2 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 2017
3 European Commission, 2018
A dynamic region with more than 80 million inhabitants, Central and Eastern Europe is a key trading gateway into the European Union and its 500 million consumers.
The region offers a highly-skilled labour force and its people benefit from high standards of education. Productivity continues to outstrip wage growth in these countries.
Central and Eastern Europe’s well-developed logistic network offers services at a lower cost than its Western counterparts.
Developing much faster than Western Europe, the Eastern flanks are accelerating growth and prosperity across the entire continent.
Geopolitical and social risks, which exist in many other emerging economies, are not present here. The CEE countries of Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania are considered some of the safest in the world.4
Central and Eastern Europe’s middle class has tripled in size in little over a decade – increasing consumption and presenting significant new opportunities for businesses.5
Central and Eastern Europe encompasses the countries in Central Europe, the Baltic states and Southeastern Europe. These former communist states now offer some of the most attractive marketplaces in the world.
Its diverse mix of cultures and pro-business climate combine to provide an investment-friendly environment. A growing entrepreneurial culture, fast-rising living standards and safe political environment also add to its appeal.
Central and Eastern Europe’s cost-effective and productive labour market, increasing consumerism and trading potential present significant opportunities for businesses.
This may be a region with a shared past, but it is also one with a bright and vibrant future.
Seen as a ‘gateway to Europe’, particularly by China, increased investment in infrastructure projects also look set to spur economic growth and make the whole region even more accessible.
Read on to discover more about the dos and don’ts of doing business in Central and Eastern Europe. Also, find out how trading in or with these countries could help boost the future growth of your business.
Employment rates across the region are at record lows and the percentage of the working-age population is higher than that of many Western European nations.2
CEE’s advantage of a well-educated workforce also presents a challenge in recruiting labour into key roles across the region.
The collapse of communism and the move to a free market economy has, so far, failed to reduce the gap between men and women in the labour market. Most boardroom positions continue to be held by men.
Some of the region’s languages can be difficult to understand. Having a local representative on the ground - acting as an interpreter, cultivating networks and serving as a source of cultural knowledge - can be important when doing business.
1 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 2018